Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.Romans 12:12
What does Romans 12:12 mean?
I strolled around the park, soaking in the sun’s warmth that pushed back the chill of the morning air. Koi moved silently beneath the lake’s glassy surface as birds trilled from flower laden cherry trees.
This was spring. A season of optimistic beginnings despite the brutality of the past winter. As I walked, my thoughts shifted to the deeper meaning behind what was unfolding behind me.
Joyful in Hope
The Bible commands us to be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer. All these things indicate that we don’t have what we want at the time, that we’re in a less than ideal situation.
But we’re taught to be joyful in, or because we are hoping for something better. It’s important to realize that, with God, hope isn’t something that may happen. It’s something definite but something that just hasn’t happened yet.
As I walked, I saw afresh that nothing stops the power of hope. Frail yet unbroken, hope will always bloom on. The rise of tyrants has never stopped the renewal of spring. The Hitlers, the Stalins and other ilk of their kind have come and gone—but optimistic hope endures.
Patient in affliction
The tragedies of 2020, the ongoing cycles of violence, the pointless police brutality and litany of other problems in our world don’t stop the birds from singing. Nor do they stop the sun’s healing touch. Or the beauty of a flowering tree. In fact, all the evil of this world is powerless to stop the burgeoning cycle of renewal that embodies voiceless nature’s cry of hope.
Everything is patiently toiling on, refusing to let the evil outside stop it from doing what God commanded.
So we must be patient, working for positive change while refusing to give up to despair, hatred, or malice.
My heart broke as I heard of another police killing, this one of Andrew Brown. Maybe this one was more real because the victim sort of resembles me. Perhaps it’s because my prayers before pulling out of my driveway have expanded to include a call for protection from police.
Regardless, I realized that God calls for us to be patient as we work and wait for positive change.
Faithful in prayer
One of the most difficult things to do is to pray about the same thing time and time again. Yet that is the hallmark of Christian growth. We don’t give up because God hasn’t answered our prayers the first time or the hundredth. We continue to pray believing that each prayer is accomplishing something that our natural eyes cannot see.
Joy, hope, patience and faithfulness. Equipped with these unbreakable traits, face whatever life sends your way, be optimistic. Remind yourself that no matter how long it takes, good will ultimately triumph and one day, the world will know the power of an eternal spring.